February 15, 2005

Religon: Okay, Not Really

So the pinheads doing the negotiating for the NHL and NHLPA have finally decided to speak in some meaningful way, have they? And they've waited this long for... why was that again?

I wish I could say that I won't watch the NHL if it does actually make it back this season, but I'd be lying, lying, lying. I'm a crackhead when it comes to this sport. I've watched the World Juniors, the Spengler Cup in Davos, the AHL, and the freakin' Swedish Elite League. Why, oh why would I do such a thing? 'Cause it feels good, man.

Whose side am I on in this? It is tough to support the players when you hear Chris Pronger make a twit statement like "Most players only make a couple hundred thousand [dollars]." And it's tough to support them when you haven't heard them say a damn thing about the cost of tickets, or what the other employees of the various teams are doing right now to try making ends meet.

But: these are the best players in the world. No one else can do what they do, as well as they do it. There are literally millions of hockey players around the world, and perhaps one hundred thousand of them are professionals to a greater or lesser degree; of them, fewer than one thousand manage to get even a sniff of the NHL. These guys are good, and without them, there is no game.

I simply can't support the owners on this. They keep pointing to the NFL as a fine example of a salary cap that works, but they never mention that 40% of the NFL revenues are SHARED. You know, split amongst the teams. If you mention this to the owners, they shy away like a skittish horse on Hallowe'en, muttering "we don't do that, we don't do that".

Plus the most obvious reason to place blame on the owners: they proposed the stupid contracts that players are getting. Don't get me wrong, Matrin Lapointe is an asset to any team, and a great third-line player. But he's a third-line player, and no third-line player I've ever heard of is worth the $5,000,000 dollars Boston offered him. How many tickets does Bill Guerin sell? The $10,000,000 worth that Dallas seems to think? And I have no idea what Ted Leonsis was thinking when he signed Jagr, for any price. At least the last two examples are a matter of new owners not knowing the value of players - what's Jeremy Jacobs' excuse?

Plus, of course, the owners have also said nothing about the cost of tickets.

I only have one request before the game starts again: could the media please stop reporting that "people have found other things to do during the strike". And you expected what, exactly? We'd spend three hours a night staring at a blank screen? Sober up, already.


posted by Thursday at 8:40 am


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